Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Mission accomplished, sort of

I don't want to turn into Ouroboros or anything but sometimes, when seeking inspiration for things to blog about, I look back at past posts. And last December I did one of those meme posts, you know the sort, you answer a load of loosely themed questions in what you hope is an amusing and original way and the blog-reading world falls at your feet. That's the theory, at least.

Anyway, one of the questions in that meme was "If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?" After some obviously amusing and original pondering, I decided on Morrissey but then, after a bit of discussion in the comments, I suggested that maybe I should opt to meet Billy Bragg instead.

And then, this summer, I did exactly that.

I saw Bill do his Woody Guthrie set at the Voewood Festival in August, a perfectly small and intimate venue for Bill to do his thing. And afterwards he lingered by the merchandise stall and happily pressed the flesh, signed things, posed for photographs and had a bit of a chat. I took my place at the back of the queue and waited...and waited. People make the most of their time with Billy, it seems, and he doesn't hurry them along. Quite the opposite. By the time he got to me he would have had every right to be a bit tired and keen to get to his bed - after all, he'd just done a 90 minute set, taken part in a book auction and then met virtually everyone in the audience. But he was very happy to have a nice chat, in the course of which I explained that, growing up, just about the only things my brother (who is four years older than me) and I had in common musically were Billy and The Jam. Bill replied, and I hope I remember this verbatim, "Well, I've always thought you can't really trust anyone who doesn't like The Jam." Yes, I know, that's a slightly odd basis on which to judge people... but as a theory, I think it probably holds water.

So I got to meet someone this year that, last year, I said I'd like to meet. Hooray. To celebrate, here's a clip of Bill doing his Woody Guthrie thing. It's not from Voewood - YouTube let me down on that - but it's contemporaneous.

And since I trust you all, let's have some Jam too. I know, any excuse, right? But I bloody love this - reminds me of watching my brother's copy of the "Snap!" video on VHS.


  1. Good for you! It would be an honour to have a chat with Billy, but I'd worry that after standing in line for an hour and a half I wouldn't know what to say.

    1. To be honest, I was a bit like that too. After I'd used the line about my brother, Billy and The Jam I was umming and aahing a bit. Not so much now when meeting David Gedge, having done this post-gig three times now. Most recently I informed Mr Gedge that his new bass player was "beguiling". It was at this point that I realised I'd maybe had a beer or two too many...